ABU DHABI // The nation's effort to encourage arbitration over lawsuits won the praise of international judges and legal experts at a recent conference in the capital. The Ministry of Justice organised the two-day conference on alternative dispute resolution last month. A report published in Al Mizan, the ministry's monthly journal, showed the participants reached a consensus on the benefits of reconciliatory justice.
Saud bin Abdullah al Askar, the undersecretary of the Saudi ministry of justice, noted the practice of reconciliation dates back to the advent of Islam about 1,400 years ago. Tania Sourdin, a professor of conflict resolution at the Australian Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, said the UAE set rigorous standards to ensure effective arbitration, and also had hired experienced arbitrators with good reputations.
Judge Wayne Brazil, a federal judge in northern California and Judge David Fletcher, the president of the Community Justice Centre in North Liverpool, noted a worldwide tendency toward arbitration because it is simpler, takes less time, and is more cost-effective than most other legal action. Judge Hugh Landerkin, of the Provincial Court of Alberta, said mediation in the legal system was introduced in Canada 15 years ago.
Judge Musa bin Salem al Azri, of the Sohar Court of Justice in Oman, said mediation had successfully resolved half the cases referred to reconciliation committees in his country. The Ministry of Interior has established social support centres to resolve domestic violence cases without referring them to the courts, said Zubaida Jassim Mohammed of the ministry's legal affairs department. In the past six years, mediated resolutions were found in 36 per cent of all cases brought before the courts, said Judge Obeid Mohammad Ibrahim, a senior judicial inspector at the Ministry of Justice.